Slow Stitching Retreat, Maine :: 2 :: Stitching Small with Chawne Kimber

Day 2 of the Slow Stitching Retreat was with one of my favorite quilt artists of all time, Chawne Kimber.  I had first heard of the retreat on her Instagram feed and when I found the dates would work for me I just had to attend!  Chawne's work is an amazing collection of color and pattern. She does incredible improv work, but can just as easily slip into precise piecing.  This class was all about her current small pieced works.  I've seen many of these in photos, but it is even more incredible in person.  Just look at that pile of goodies!

Chawne's class was called Stitching Small.  For the first part of class we got a show and tell of her tiny piecing.  Some of these pieces start at 5/8" and she regularly works with pieces as small as 1" square.  

On top of that, her seams are usually standard 1/4" seams, as you can see here on the back.  Many of the pieces end up very sturdy since you are piecing into the previous seam allowance.  Occasionally, she will grade her seams or stitch them smaller, always doing what's right for the piece.  

Chawne's use of color is also extraordinary and, of course, I love the heavy use of solids.

These tiny squares fairly dance across the piece because they aren't perfect.  You might not notice that unless you look carefully, but they are improv pieced. 

These two pieces are especially intriguing.  They feel so substantial in hand because they are ones where the seams are stitched through the previous seam allowance. 

Be still my heart!  This once is just fantastic!

Chawne had been working on this triangle piece during the retreat.  I believe the tiniest units are 1/2" square.  Oh, and they are precision pieced.  

It was also a treat to see this pineapple variation quilt.  Just extraordinary!

Well, after that daunting show and tell we got going with our own fabric.  I brought some solid scraps, but had to borrow some pale colors from Chawne (she brought fabric to share- very nice!).  I improv pieced a bunch of triangles to start with.  I put them all together just as if they were regular size pieces, cut off points and all.  I ended up with some truly teeny triangles, but let me tell you it's a lot easier to do that when you are improv piecing, than with precise piecing.  

I added some log cabin piecing and some more, larger triangles.

 Another quiet moment on the lake after lunch.

Another quiet moment on the lake after lunch.

After lunch I continued by adding some more log cabin piecing.  I plan to keep going in this manner.  At this point the piece is about 10" square.  

Okay, after all that excitement it was time for a little relaxation on the porch before dinner.

Dinner on the second night was a truly "only in Maine" feast of mussels, corn on the cob and fresh lobster caught off the coast just about 30 minutes away.  I have never eaten mussels and have only had lobster out of the shell before.  It was all new to many other campers too, but it turned out to be the most fun meal of all and I managed to polish off my lobster with the help of Samantha's tutorial for us newbies.  

I found this bottle of wine at the tiny local market in Washington, which is really just a tiny New England village.  The magpies caught my eye, and the title was perfect, but look a the back!  Corvidae Wine Company was just about made for me.  It was really good too!

 It's the little things....

It's the little things....

The final group of photos were taken on the third night, which was the last night of the retreat.  We were all realizing that the fun would eventually come to an end and wanting to spend time sewing in the barn together.  Some people worked on their tiny piecing and some did other projects.  I am posting them here because these are tiny piecing examples from other students.

Carolyn and Chawne had some quality time together in which Carolyn did some tiny piecing.

And, this is what a tiny quilt looks like hanging from the barn loft!

Chawne's class description ended with this, "In the end, we'll agree that small piecing can enhance our quilts without terribly increasing our workload."  I have to admit I was skeptical when I first read that, but I have definitely jumped on the Stitching Small bandwagon!  I agree, yes, I do indeed!